On May 4, 2019, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted the Fulbright Association LA Film Festival. Created by the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Fulbright Association, the unique and exciting event showcased the best recent films that were directed, produced, acted, shot, or scored by current Fulbright grantees and Fulbright alumni of the prestigious Fulbright Program—the US government’s flagship international exchange program. The Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State supported the activity.
The 2019 Film Showcase included evocative documentary films and breathtaking narrative films from extremely talented filmmakers hailing from United States, Estonia, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Peru, Ukraine, Spain, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Armenia, Costa Rica, and Denmark.
The daylong event was held at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus and included film screenings as well as a panel of industry experts–Hollywood for Fulbrighters–featuring accomplished Fulbright Alums in very relevant positions in the industry.
The President of the Fulbright Association-LA Chapter, Dr. Jose Siles, and NYFA’s Dean of Students, Dr. Susan Ashe, opened the event. In her remarks welcoming the audience, Dr. Ashe thanked the many volunteers that worked for months to put the event together, including the Festival’s panel of judges.
Dr. Ashe gave special recognition to NYFA’s own Professor Miguel Cruz, a film and television director, Fulbright alum ’05, NYFA Director of Fulbright Initiatives, and the Vice President of the Fulbright Association-LA chapter, for his invaluable contribution to the Festival.
“It was exciting to see so many talented storytellers,” says Dr. Ashe. “To know that NYFA is affiliated with Fulbright, and gives a platform for bright students to share their voice and vision, is truly inspiring.”
The “Hollywood for Fulbrighters” industry panel, moderated by Crickett Rumley, NYFA’s Film Festivals Advisor and faculty in the College’s Screenwriting department, offered the audience insightful information about how the inherent diversity that is associated with the Fulbright Program can be an advantage in the current Hollywood landscape. The ensuing discussion included accomplished Fulbright alums and key players in the industry: Santiago Pozo, considered one of the foremost authorities in the advertising world for marketing entertainment and film to U.S. Latino audiences; Arturo Diaz, Netflix Manager for International Originals; Mikko Alannen, showrunner for the National Geographic Channel and screenwriter of feature film The 33, starring Antonio Banderas; and Miguel Cruz, film and TV director and NYFA’s Professor and Director of Fulbright Initiatives.
The lively event ended with a reception that allowed participants—including current Fulbright scholars and students, Fulbright alumni, and NYFA students—to network with representatives of foreign consulates (including Manuel Valle, Spanish Trade Commissioner) and representatives of the Fulbright community (including Ann Kerr, California’s Fulbright Enrichment Program Coordinator), as well as share their own experiences in the Fulbright program and the film industry.
“It was extremely inspiring and touching to see how the vision of Senator Fulbright of promoting mutual understanding among people from different countries, cultures, and social backgrounds was so well-reflected and empowered by the work of our Fulbright filmmakers,” says Dr. Jose Siles, President of the Fulbright Association-LA Chapter.
Dr. Siles adds, “Organized by the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Fulbright Association, hosted by the New York Film Academy, and sponsored by the The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Association LA Film Festival was a total success and set the basis for a yearly event that will continue sending out loud to the world the Fulbright message through the big screen.”
The U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. New York Film Academy is proud to have hosted more than 60 Fulbright students from over 35 countries to date.
The Los Angeles Chapter of the Fulbright Association and NYFA congratulate the following talented filmmakers that were selected for the 2019 Fulbright Film Festival & Showcase:
Selected Documentary Films Category
Lucía Florez (Peru)
Adrineh Gregorian (Armenia)
Pedro Peira (Spain)
Kelly Richardson (USA)
Selected Narrative Films Category
Laura Ávila (Costa Rica)
Abdallah ElDaly (Egypt)
Lasse Elkjær (Denmark)
Ishani Jayamaha (Sri Lanka)
Vlad Klimchunk (Ukraine)
Madi Lääne (Estonia)
Nataliya O’Lea (Ukraine)
Alejandro Márquez Vela (Mexico)
Catherine Taylor (United Kingdom)